The NFL runs at warp speed.
Here today, gone tomorrow. Hero to hapless in 48 minutes.
Genius to moron in a week; or moron to genius.
On Oct. 25, after his Tampa Bay Bucs had blown a 24-point lead in a loss to Washington, the "experts" had built Lovie Smith a tombstone and had a grave site picked out.
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It would read: "Nice guy, game has passed him by; Doesn't understand how to play modern-day defense."
Now here it is Nov. 25 and those same people are making plans for a Lovie coronation.
We are talking playoffs and not in the way Jim Mora blurted out in his infamous "Playoffs?" rant back in 2001.
The Bucs are 5-5 and headed to play the Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, when they will instead face backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Going against a backup used to generate shudders that would shake the foundation of Raymond James Stadium.
But no more; just ask Matt Cassel and Mark Sanchez.
After Indy, the Bucs are home against Atlanta and quarterback Matt Ryan -- otherwise known as "Matty Ice" -- who is melting faster than Greenland.
So, you ask, how did this happen?
Lovie could just smile and say "told you so."
When "They" were ripping and criticizing Lovie, he stood there unabashed.
Right now, Minnesota (7-3) and Atlanta (6-4) hold the two wild card spots and Seattle at 5-5 certainly cannot be discounted.
There are five 4-6 teams. The Bucs have beaten three of those and will play the other two (St. Louis and Chicago). So why not?
Lovie won't talk playoffs. OK, maybe he will just a little.
"It's kind of the same message each week. The message is we are in the playoff race. We have been," Smith said. "Our message is about that next opponent. All those other things will take care of themselves. We talked an awful lot about getting to 5-5. Now we have a chance to get over .500, win three games in a row.
We didn't play a perfect game (against Philly). As you start watching the video, there are so many things to clean up."
Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston started chanting seven straight after beating Dallas two weeks ago, but we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. As Lovie has told us many times, those other guys are also on scholarship. But the way the Bucs dominated Chip Kelly's faster-than-lighting offense last week, it makes you wonder if the LovieBucs have turned the proverbial corner.
"I've seen us getting better each week and I have acknowledged that. A lot of you didn't want to hear that, (you) just wanted to see the score," Lovie told the media on Monday. "It's hard winning each week in the league and to be able to beat someone (Philly) in that way. It takes a good football team to get up on someone 24-0."
Look at the last two teams Tampa has beaten and you could argue that it starts in the locker room. Dallas and Philadelphia are wreaked with controversy with players publicly calling out coaches and teammates.
That is the beauty of Lovie's demeanor. You also can't ignore Winston's. His loyalty to his teammates has been infectious.
Winston showed up unexpected at the birthday party of Gerald McCoy's son and brought a present last Friday.
"He didn't have to do that so I love him," McCoy said. "That kid is great."